FROM April 2008, the way in which ambulance response times are measured will change.
Call Connect is a Government initiative which will mean that the clock starts from the moment an emergency call is connected to its local ambulance control centre.
The benefits for patients include a shorter wait for their 999 call to be answered and a speedier paramedic response, ensuring an improved patient experience.
In order for North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust (NWAS) to meet this challenging target set by the Government, it will need to further improve its Category A performance by at least 10%.
NWAS recognises this is a major challenge for the trust and, in partnership with its commissioners, has developed plans to help bridge the gap, which involve increased investment into frontline services.
This will include an increase in the number of solo paramedic responders and more call takers and dispatchers in the control centres across the North West.
Solo paramedic responders have been used across the North West over the last eight years, to reach patients more quickly. These responders are immediately backed up by an emergency ambulance for all serious and life threatening calls.
When implementing any future changes, NWAS will consider its urban and rural demography and use appropriate models accordingly.
The trust is working hard to meet the challenges of Call Connect and will continue to make service improvements up to and beyond April 2008, to ensure that patient care remains a priority for the trust.
Category A is the classification assigned to serious and life threatening calls, based on the information given by the caller. National targets require ambulance services to respond to these calls within eight minutes across 75% of calls.